Preview: PVDFest 2022

A look ahead into what you can expect at the return of Providence’s signature arts celebration this weekend.
Providence, Rhode Island Cityscape

PVDFest returns to Providence June 10-12. Getty Images

Nine stages. Three days. Countless surprises around every corner. Whether you are a Rhody native or new in town, everyone should be excited for this weekend’s PVDFest, coming to downtown June 10-12. This massive collaboration between Providence and the nonprofit arts organization FirstWorks has been delivering fun, food and fantasy since 2015. After two years without a proper gathering, this year’s PVDFest is guaranteed to bring communities together to celebrate what makes Providence special. 

Each day of PVDFest has its own flavor, from the New Orleans vibes on Friday provided by trumpeter/vocalist Kermit Ruffins and the Rebirth Brass Band, to the upbeat multicultural spotlights on Sunday (which also happens to be the National Day of Portugal). Washington Street will be transformed into a free-for-all dance party, so cha-cha with a stranger or get groovy with the grandkids whenever the music strikes your heart. 

Timothy Rondeau, director of communications for the city of Providence, hopes that this year’s PVDFest will provide a sense of belonging after a period of limited and canceled festival gatherings. He considers the fest an “emblem of the Creative Capital” and the surrounding region, hosting artists both local and international. There are so many diverse cultural and artistic communities to celebrate and experience, and all are invited to “embrace the weird.”

H2h 01 John Altdorfer

Squonk brings its giant digits to Providence, with performances on Saturday and Sunday. Photography courtesy of Squonk / John Altdorfer

Kathleen Pletcher, executive artistic director at FirstWorks, invites you to come and create an experience that you will remember well past this spectacular weekend. And there are plenty of spectacles to behold. One can’t-miss performance is “Hand to Hand,” put on by Pittsburgh-based group Squonk. Audience participants operate the mechanical fingers on two giant purple hands, each twenty-two feet tall, while Squonk provides a mystical live soundtrack. There will also be plenty of live music of every taste, including Peruvian Indie band Hit La Rosa and the Afrika Nyaga Drum and Dance Festival-within-the-festival hosted by Grand Marshal Sidy Maiga

To see the full lineup of performances and activities check out the official website. Can’t decide? Pick one or two events in a day that you know you want to go to, and fill the time in between wandering the grounds. You never know what you’re going to find, so be spontaneous!

Psst. Still not convinced? Check out this fantastic video put together by Nail Communications and the organizers of PVDFest.